Our lives are constantly in a state of change and evolution. The things that cause you to identify as “you” are temporary, moving foundations. “You” were once just a mere collection of microscopic cells. Then you were a baby, and then a teenager, and so on. I am not the person that I was at 5, 16, or 24 years old (I am so thankful for this). Your attitudes will change; your beliefs will change; your clothes will change; your hair will change; your jobs will change. Everything will change!
Most people hate the idea of change. In some sense, it reminds them of death and disappearing; they see death being the final change in “you.” If you start to look at every change in the past version of yourself as a death, it reveals the normalcy of something passing into memory. There is still an echo of the older versions of you, reverberating around inside yourself and in other people. We never fully die even in what we think of as actual death. We change again and become echoes in others, and they carry us forward.
I have thought about this idea a lot this year, as I left my identity as a surgical tech, a job that I did and loved for the last five years. During those five years, I was an echo of the ones who trained me and taught me how to do my job well every day. I was their legacy, even after they retired or quit. Each day, I carried their echo forward in time. Once I knew that I was leaving my job, I began to train people during those last several months, knowing they would become my legacy. I was passing on the knowledge and legacy of those who came before me into them and into their memory. In that way, even those who were gone still live.
I, too, would become an echo even if one day no one knew where the original voice came from. I will be an echo which carries on in some until it is so silent that it is unrecognizable. I am at peace with this. I am a reverberation until I am not. There was a time when I was not here, knowing the things that I know, and there will be a time beyond the knowing of me. You will be an echo and resound into the future of your kids and coworkers. Your echo is your legacy. The question then becomes, “What kind of legacy are you passing on?”